Monday 19 December 2011

Fungi at Granta Park

George found a variety of fungi around Granta Park on 16th November.

Monday 10 October 2011

Daddy Longlegs

Jim Cracknell took these photos on a bedroom window sill at the rear of their bungalow.

Saturday 8 October 2011

Saturday 24 September 2011

River Sampling 24th September 2011

We met at the ford at 11 am and sampled above the ford only. The river was lower than any of us could remember, the brick standing of an old pump exposed as never before. Water carts would be pulled by horses into the ford and filled using the pump. The water was used for cattle on the higher farms such as Grange Farm, which had a very limited water supply from a well, and also perhaps for traction engines.

[We heard a few days later that the Gunner’s Hall pond had dried out, something not known since 1975.]

Diversity was moderate, size and numbers generally rather poor. There were a few mayfly nymphs of quite good size. Live pea mussels were abundant, reminding us of the large numbers we found further upstream in the Lodge’s reach last year. The reappearance of several mites (Acari), our only known arachnid, was also welcome.

We had two good single finds. A little way from the bridge we found a small (3 cm) but smart, Three-spined Stickleback, thought to be only the second we have netted.

Nearer the bridge, we had a fine Crayfish, larger than any we got in June, certainly an alien Signal (white patch in the claws clearly visible). We have since been told by experts that we should not have put it back but eaten it...

Monday 12 September 2011

Dragonflies - September 2011

Jennifer found a Common Darter in her garden in the afternoon of 11th September.

Audrey took this photo in her garden recently - it looks as if the dragon fly is just emerging.

Friday 19 August 2011

Chalkhill Blue on the Roman Road

Jennifer writes:

At last! I saw a Chalkhill blue on the Roman Road this morning (not actually in Abington but not far away). My patience was rewarded this morning when, after the cold night last night (Thursday 18th August), I went up to the Roman Road and walked towards Wandlebury from Worsted Lodge. It was about 11 a.m. and the sun was warming everything up nicely. In fact there were quite a few butterflies about.

Between the two Ash trees, about 50 yards before the second, I finally saw a male Chalkhill Blue. I watched it for about 10 mins and got a couple of photos. A little further on I saw another, this time female, and they flitted around together for a while. I walked further on with Orla and saw the male, presumably the same one, on my way back.

Friday 15 July 2011

Protected Road Verge - Bourn Bridge Road

Tim Stone, our county councillor, met with Martin Brennan of the Cambridgeshire Wildlife Trust on Monday 11th July to discuss the management of the County PRVs. The PRV was looking good especially in the middle section and there was a lot of insect life (various bumble bees, flies and even a burnet moth) enjoying it.

Sunday 3 July 2011

Purple Hairstreak butterfly

Anne took this photo of a Purple Hairstreak butterfly on 3 July, on disturbed ground near Hildersham Wood, within Great Abington parish!
(Wingspan = 3.5 cm.)

Saturday 2 July 2011

River Sampling 28th June 2011


A small group gathered at the Ford at 7:30 pm - we did all our sampling there. The river flow was quite good for full summer, but neither abundance nor diversity were impressive. A sally under the bridge produced 3 crayfish and one was found a little further up stream; till now we had only had reports of them, apart from a big haul of much bigger ones taken at the same spot by two village boys last year. The key diagnostic item (a white spot at the junction of the claw) could not be certainly attested on every one; it is however safe to list them as American invaders.

Minute mayfly larvae and shrimps were abundant. The only other remarkable finds were a few large larvae of mayflies, a fine 3cm demoiselle nymph and a mature minnow of ca 10cm. There was no sign of molluscs, caddis larvae or water hog lice.


1. Results of two samplings on gravel ca.10 m above the bridge:

- A few good-sized Freshwater Shrimps (Gammarus genus), many small/v.small ones.

- Mayfly larvae: very many minute nymphs; 3 large (2cm) top gill nymphs, probably Ephemera genus; 3 stubby nymphs, possibly Caenis genus (Angler’s Curse).
- One good-sized (2cm) Beetle larva (Dytiscidae family).

Worms (Annelida)
- Leeches: 2 good-sized Leeches (Hirudinea class), one large (3.5 cm extended).
- Sludge Worms: 1 v. small Sludge Worm (Tubifex genus).

2. Results in muddier water near or under the bridge

- 1 adult Minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus).

- 4 American Signal Crayfish (Pacifastacus lenuisculus), all small (largest 5cm body length, full-grown being twice this), one with one claw missing.

- I fine large Demoiselle nymph (Calopteryx genus).

Balsam Bashing

Last year, we removed quite a lot of Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) in the river near the junction of the recreation ground and the cricket pitch. This year, there was a lot less:

David & Peter removed a few plants before the river sampling session on Tuesday 28 June.

Himalayan Balsam is an invasive non-native species which can damage river banks by excluding other plants. See NNSS web-site.

Monday 27 June 2011

Moths - 25th / 26th June 2011

Phil set up his trap in Jennifer Hirsh’s garden at 34 High Street, Little Abington, on Saturday 25 June 2011.

Weather: rain all night but dry by morning, cool for June

We met on Saturday morning to open it up; the following Moths were identified by Phil Jenner.

All English and Latin names (and page numbers) are from the book:
Michael Chinery, Collins Complete Guide to British Insects, 2005

Phil Jenner recommends the web site:
This has a search function and lots of good photographs.

22 different species plus some micro-moths unidentified; listed below by family.

Hooktip moths: Family Drepanidae (p.164)
Buff Arches (Habrosyne pyritoides) (p.164)

Geometer moths: Family Geometridae (p.166)
Least Carpet (Idaea rusticate) (p.170)
Riband Wave (Idaea aversata) (p.172)
Scalloped Oak (Crocallis elinguaria) (p.194)
Willow Beauty (Peribatodes rhomboidaria) (p.200)
Common White Wave (Cabera pusaria) (p.202)

Hawkmoths: Family Sphingidae (p.206)
Lime hawkmoth (Mimas tiliae) (p.206)
Privet hawkmoth Sphinx ligustri) (p.206)

Tussock moths: Family Lymantriidae (p.214)
Common footman (Eilema lurideola) (p.218)

Noctuid moths: Family Noctuidae (p.222)
Heart and Dart (Agrotis exclamationis) (p.222)
Heart and Club (Agrotis clavis) (p.222)
Large yellow underwing (Noctua pronuba) (p.224)
The Flame (Axylia putris) (p.224)
Triple Spotted Clay (Xestia ditrapezium) (p.228)
Setaceous Hebrew Character (Xestia c-nigrum) (p.228)
Dark Arches (Apamea monoglypha) (p.252)
The Dunbar (Cosmia trapezima) (p.252)
Vine’s Rustic (Hoplodrina ambigua) (p.260)
The Uncertain (Hoplodrina alsines) (p.260)
The Spectacle (Abrostola triplasia) (p.264)
Beautiful Hooktip (Laspeyria flexula) (p.266)
The Snout (Hypena proboscidalis) (p.266)

Tortrix moths: Family Tortricidae (p.268)
Several unidentified micro-moths

Peter Brunning and Jennifer Hirsh have digital photographs of some of the moths seen and identified.

Jennifer Hirsh – Abington Naturewatch invertebrate recorder – 26 June 2011

Sunday 26 June 2011


Derek and Jennifer have both seen Ringlet butterflies in their gardens:

[photo: Jennifer Hirsh]

Thursday 23 June 2011


Derek took this picture of 2 Ladybirds on nettles in their garden on the morning of 23 June. It is believed that they are a 7-spotted and a Harlequin.

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Midsummer evening walk

This was not strictly a Naturewatch event but several regulars were there and there were flora to observe! It was a beautiful evening. We used farm tracks that are not rights of way to reach the Roman Road and on part of the way back.

We started at Little Abington church and went up via Grange Farm. From the top, there is a good view of Ely Cathedral in the distance.

We stopped for a picnic supper before leaving the Roman Road.

On the way back down towards Hildersham, there are lots of fine examples of Broomrape growing on the Knapweed.

Sunday 19 June 2011

Partridge Group

Julia found some young partridges in the garden (19th June)

Greater Knapweed dependants!

Jennifer has spotted all these dependent on Greater Knapweed:

Small tortoiseshell

Large skipper

Knapweed broomrape

Tuesday 31 May 2011

Giant Hogweed

Our regular Rivercare litter pick-up and monitoring session revealed a Giant Hogweed plant by the river. This is a non-native species, one of a few undesirables that are listed in our Rivercare packs!

We dug it up and took it away in black bags to stop it spreading seed along the river.

Friday 27 May 2011

Mullein Moth Caterpillars

Derek Turnidge caught some Mullein Moth Caterpillars in his garden on 26 May:

Plant Walk - Beechwoods - 24 May 2011

We had an evening visit to Beechwoods Nature Reserve where we saw, among other things:



White Helleborine

Common Broomrape on clover

The Aims of Abington Naturewatch

At their meeting on 9 April 2005 the members approved this revised version of the aims of Abington Naturewatch:

  • To monitor and record the wildlife (fauna & flora) within the borders of the Abingtons;
  • To encourage protection of our wildlife, maintain its quality and foster its diversity;
  • To promote awareness of the richness, potential and problems of the natural environment of the Abingtons;
  • To cooperate in improving access to the local natural environment for the benefit of all Abington villagers.

Pat Daunt, Founder

The organisation is informal and communication is by email if possible; members are notified of events from time to time. Contact details are maintained by a small "project team". There is currently no membership fee as costs are covered by voluntary contributions at events.

Members are encouraged to report notable sightings of flora and fauna within the Abingtons to the appropriate sector coordinator and an illustrated record is published annually.

A map of the area covered, with some features noted, is available here:>

For more information or to join, please contact David Farrant on (01223) 892871.

Contributions to our records should be sent to sector contacts or either of the above. Photographs may also be submitted to Andy Merryweather (